Japan Experts: “Very worried” about accident at Fukushima Unit 4; Concern fuel to be dropped, could break apart and overheat — Tepco Adviser: It’s only as hot as a ‘few toasters’

Published: November 8th, 2013 at 12:14 pm ET
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79 comments


Hiromitsu Ino, professor emeritus of nuclear engineering at the University of Tokyo: The removal of the fuel assemblies is “the right thing to do, because keeping the fuel up there is quite risky,” [he] says. Among the risks he and other experts cite is the possibility that a container being used to move the units falls and breaks apart, exposing the fuel to the air.

Hiroaki Koide, a nuclear scientist working at the University of Kyoto: [H]e was very worried about an accident, given the magnitude of the task. “I’m worried about whether Tepco can treat all the 1,331 [spent-fuel] assemblies without any problem and how long it will take,” he said.

Edwin Lyman, a nuclear expert with the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists: “The biggest risk with Unit 4 pool unloading is that a spent fuel cask might drop and damage the pool, causing a leak that could expose some fuel and cause overheating,” he said.

Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center: [He] told Bellona in an email interview this week that he, too, was concerned about dropping casks and overheating in the pools.

Those employed by Tepco and another scientist disagree

Tepco’s Akira Ono, the head of the Fukushima plant: “We have removed spent fuels many times. Therefore, we don’t think we are going to be doing anything that is very dangerous.”

Tepco adviser Lake Barrett: “A fuel assembly in this state has the heat output of a few toasters. Worldwide experience with a few dropped or damaged fuel assemblies has not resulted in any off-site impact.”

Thomas Cochran, Natural Resource Defense Council’s nuclear program senior scientist: [He] told Bellona that a dropped fuel assembly was unlikely to cause wide spread contamination. But Cochran was skeptical that a dropped assembly would even break.  “The vast majority of fission materials are encased in ceramic material – if a fuel assemble casing broke, you would be dealing with noble gasses as well as a small amount of radioactive ones, but I don’t think that would cause any sign of off site exposure,” he said.

See also: [intlink id="warning-from-japans-top-nuclear-official-i-am-much-more-worried-about-fuel-in-unit-4-rods-may-break-open-and-release-highly-radioactive-material-beware-risks-from-debris-disaster-if-dama" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: November 8th, 2013 at 12:14 pm ET
By

79 comments

Related Posts

  1. Warning from Japan’s Top Nuclear Official: I am “much more worried” about fuel in Fukushima Unit 4 — Rods may break open and release highly radioactive material — Beware risks from debris, a disaster if damaged — Removal may start Nov. 8 October 30, 2013
  2. Tepco Adviser: “Everyone in the world” will be safer if fuel rods transferred from Fukushima Unit 4 — WSJ: Global concern over removal process (VIDEO) November 18, 2013
  3. Tepco Adviser: 925 quadrillion Bq of contaminated water from trying to cool melted Fukushima cores in first few months after 3/11 — TV: “Tepco has no idea where the fuel is” (VIDEO) November 23, 2013
  4. NYTimes: Countries increasingly worried about Fukushima Unit 4 spent fuel — Experts: Concern over potential cracks in pool walls — Professors: “In deteriorating condition”; “This is a critical global issue”; “Could have fatal consequences for Japan” September 6, 2013
  5. AP: Experts warn about ground sinking at Fukushima plant — Tepco Adviser: Reactor building structures likely degraded; “Containment degradation” concerns back in 2011 December 3, 2013

79 comments to Japan Experts: “Very worried” about accident at Fukushima Unit 4; Concern fuel to be dropped, could break apart and overheat — Tepco Adviser: It’s only as hot as a ‘few toasters’

  • weeman

    We will all be toast if they don't get it right.


    Report comment

  • Lacsap Lacsap

    If it's not dangerous if fuel drops then why the hurry of getting it out of there? Dropping only a lot of fuel is dangerous?


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    • robu

      Why the hurry? Because if the building collapses and the pool is destroyed with all of the fuel still in there, we can't even begin to comprehend the consequences.


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      • soern

        "Why the hurry? Because if the building collapses and the pool is destroyed" agreed until here.
        "with all of the fuel still in there" – disagreed.
        There was 2 weeks no water in that SFP (end of march – mid of april 2011) Zirconium fires which cannot be put out at all, were reported that time. And NO STEAM – what means no water left inside SFP4fo 2 weeks at least. Also radiation was too high, to go even close to RB4. So likely all content of sfp4 molt down and ate through all floors of that raector building into ground. At each floor molten content caused that small explosions and smoke events which were reported.
        Now we have a PR Gag by Nuclear Industry in order to presentate their "professional ability to move that fuel assemblies without an accident" as everybody is scared about as if it was real.
        They use a cheap chance to get their reputatiion back, but ly again. And again and again…
        And obviously it works quite well as almost nobody connects the dots.
        You will see, nothing will happen at all.
        Just a big show and an oportuninty for "enlghtened people" like Arnie or Helen to give wise comments.
        Keep watching this.


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        • babbo dorian babbo dorian

          Fully agree soern,
          Maybe we should consider that the show could be not for enhancing their image but, instead, blaming operators of what they are going to do…..
          Maybe something crazy like blast, I do not know….
          Good luck for all, we will need it
          Peace


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          • soern

            thx babbo dorian :-)
            but mainly they are under international pressure (by US)
            and MUST have a success story to can restart their NPPs in Japan. If everybody buys this story, they will have won.
            While a completely different story is proceeding underground…


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  • Nick

    Tttt Toasters?
    How hot one toaster? 500 degrees F? So few means 3 or more, thus 1500+F. Wow! I guess all the fuss about SFP #4 just a bunch of hooey.

    Me thinks the toaster quipper is toasted.

    Let's raise a toast to the toaster raisers!!!!


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  • TalonThorn

    I don't think it's the heat that experts are worried about…it's what can't be seen that is deadly.


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  • Alpha1

    Enough BS please:

    http://plumegate.wordpress.com/

    Read… do research into the letter… but it backs up what you have been saying. I am so excited we will be able to move on creating ways to clean this mess up or at least protect us going forward. Hopefully we can find away to preserve nature and the other innocent creatures.


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  • Alpha1

    Tehy all know that there is no fuel in SPF 4 it burned 100% into atmosphere on March 20TH look at the reports and take head to stop this BS. Time to gather everyone and start a world wide concern to shut down Nuke Power and the companies that run them should be pushed they are all going to die and get cancer and watch their own children and grandchildren die from this fuk u shima black out BS


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    • Sickputer

      A1 writes: "there is no fuel in SPF 4 it burned 100% into atmosphere on March 20TH"

      SP: Possibly, but since there was video footage of intense nuclear steam on June 11, 2011 and again several times in the next 9 months I tend to believe the burnup rate was less than 100%.


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      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        Because Chernobyl, and Units 1-3, and other nuclear accidents still had nuclear fuel left after explosions, there is no reason to believe that all the fuel left Unit #4.

        If there was no fuel left, why all the construction done at Unit #4 and all the propaganda videos about the fuel removal to begin?

        I personally saw on the live TBS/JNN cam critically glowing from the Unit #4 SFP level of the building long after March 20th.


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        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          FISSION EVENT and Fire at Fukushima #4
          June 14, 2011
          “…This is TEPCO video of the #4 fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi just after midnight last night, June 14, 2011.
          “It is on fire by 00:46.
          “There is an explosion at the back of the structure which is captured in frame 1:05.
          “There is a flash of Cherenkov radiation visible – at least to me – from the back of the structure between frames 1:05 – 1.07.
          “There is more fire and smoke at 1:31, 1:36, 1:46 and the fuel becomes energetic at 2:12. A transient criticality event appears to have been achieved at ~1.07 although not many other people seem to see it. Fission events occur at the point of the flashes.
          “The fuel pool HAS disintegrated into yet another disaster. Anyone even remotely near Fukushima Daiichi with a metallic taste in their mouth should seek medical attention….”
          http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/06/apparent-explosion-and-fire-at-fukushima-4/


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        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          PattieB plutonium units 3 and 4
          December 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm Log in to Reply
          I'm sorry that it took so long for you folks to get "on-board" with the plutonium facts I told of.
          However, again, there is mis-information goin on here… to lower the damage it does! FACT: In a nuclear detonation…? MOST ALL of the plutonium is changed "Fissioned" and the result is U-234 This is bad, yes! But there are natural things and foods to flush it out of your body. The fuku deal was a fissle, re: reactor #3. MOST of it went up into the air as PLUTONIUM! 30+ entire rods consising of 1/3% P-239, 1/3% P-240, 1/3% P-241/// and that's WHY it did the "FIZZLE" and didn't QUITE go off like a real nuke weapon would normaly. There are still 40 of these burning-away in the pool of #4
          http://enenews.com/plutonium-found-in-311-disaster-debris/comment-page-1#comment-317068


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        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          PattieB
          February 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm
          #3′s pool contents went up at the start… for the most part. It had P-239 97% pure semi-depleated rods made from USSR bomb-disposal project… sitting in it and also inside the core, and is what caused the criticality ‘EVENT’ that reached 5 miles high at super-sonic-speeds. The following day, one min. less than 24 hrs. later #3′s core blew-out as well. #4′s pool, also has 40 of these type rods sitting in it. They were shown in vid-survey of that pool, and are the ones that don’t have handles on top like U-238′s and MOX ones have. The remaining rod-bits in #3 pool remains… melted out months ago, and is quite colorful now and again… on south-side of the building in the JNN cam. What is causing the glowing blob in #4 pool is quite obvious.
          http://enenews.com/temperature-doubles-at-spent-fuel-pool-no-3-up-75-at-sfp-no-6/comment-page-1


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          • soern

            hp did some research on PattieB obviously.
            unrated as i am concerned:
            http://hatrickpenry.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/im-calling-out-all-nuclear-trolls/
            Not nice.
            I came over it while collecting infos about fukushima on
            hattrick penrys site.
            Regarding SFP4 here you will find lots of documents:
            http://hatrickpenry.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/fear-and-loathing-on-fukushima-unit-4-2/
            Surely You know all already.


            Report comment

            • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

              Oh yeah HP has got it all figured out.. lol


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            • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

              You could have this source translated by Google Translate. I have taken the time to do so. This is a legitimate source. Ignoring sources is sometimes done because people don't want the information for some reason or other.

              http://yoshi-tex.com/Fuku1/Fuku1GE1.htm

              I trust this source more than any other. The author doesn't have a biased ax to grind. He is not making money as a conspiracy theorist. And he knew more about what is happening behind the scenes than most of the bloggers here.

              I believe that some of the people claiming that SFP #4 is empty are trying to keep the international experts out of Unit #4. There should be a live cam on the SFP#4 inside the reactor building 24/7. If there is not a cover up, this would be done. Because there is not I assume that there is very damaged fuel. If nothing happens it will be because, IMHO, no attempt is make to remove this fuel. And that it will remain as is without international supervision.

              The Soviets allowed cameras inside their reactor at Chernobyl and allowed international scientists access to view the corium, etc.

              I don't buy the argument that the SFP is empty.


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              • soern

                Anne: "I believe that some of the people claiming that SFP #4 is empty are trying to keep the international experts out of Unit #4."

                Not at all!! How do you come to this conclusion?
                Can't follow.

                Also it is obvious, TEPCO invites international Experts and journalists to Unit 4 especially.
                They have prepared unit 4 for media after core and fuel was gone. If the fuel was there now, "partially melted at the bottom" and bent like arnie says, they hardly could gather press people at the SFP4 without endangering them earnestly.

                Independant webcams should be at all units.
                But after Tepco even photoshopped Pictures of Unit 4, TEPCO cams can be trusted hardly at all.

                Inedendant experts were necessary since day one but were regrettably not invited at Fukushima Daiichi.

                TEPCO hides many things and want us to see a success story now. They want to restart their NPPs soon.
                I believe, that people who stick on that fuel removal story was true, only help nucleocrats wether they want/know or not. Also some here sell books and must say what might be in their books!


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                • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

                  soern, you still have not commented on the source:
                  http://yoshi-tex.com/Fuku1/Fuku1GE1.htm

                  As for when the journalists were invited to Unit #4, the SFP was completely covered up with a tarp.


                  Report comment

                  • soern

                    well i tried now by changing my browser to chrome in order to get a translation.
                    This japanese source seems only to want to prove the accuracy of fuku cam, they compare both cams at some same times and well tepco cam sent the same pics as jnn cam. nice.
                    I also read the whole thread you cited for pattyb. Patty lost and you lost.
                    That time i remember to have read that thread also as james2 wrote my thoughts almost exactly as a comment.
                    I can't read japanese and so probably i miss somthing and will die dumb. :-)


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                • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

                  soern, I can't follow your argument. You say that everyone is invited to see that the core and spent fuel pool are empty.???????

                  Why are they now removing the fuel? That couldn't have possibly be happening if everyone had previously been invited to see it already empty.

                  They aren't inviting everyone to see the empty reactor and empty core.

                  No one can even get near the reactor to see if it is empty or not. No one ever has been invited to see the empty reactor core.

                  They have invited journalists (wearing radiation suits) to see unit #4 with the blue tarp covering up the spent fuel pool. I watched one of the tours for hours on UStream and looked at photos and video taken by the journalists. The white coverings on everything in the bus turned pink from the radiation encountered during the tour. It was completely sickening. They certainly didn't visit the core or view it.

                  Can you produce photos taken by the experts or the journalists of the core and SFP that you are allegedly claiming are empty. No empty photos exist.

                  Double-talk and sophistry are not helpful. I'm talking about you claiming that webcams of Unit #4 taken in April, May, June 2011 were really of events happening in March. I find that thesis completely ridiculous. Dante puts the deceivers in the lost rung of Hell. Good luck.


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                  • soern

                    Hallo Anne,
                    "soern, I can't follow your argument. You say that everyone is invited to see that the core and spent fuel pool are empty.???????"

                    Of course they did not invite journalists to show the empty pool. They covered the pool as i also have seen. But i've seen no water under that tarp. Journalists were pretty close at the pool wearing that white overalls.
                    These overalls protect them from hot particles or radioactive dust and gases only. They are not protecting against radiation as it were probably no lead suits.

                    Now one very simple thing:
                    While fuel was sitting in the pool which could not contain water that time, it was impossible to repair cracks or anything as radiation was too high to go even close to U4. Pool was 2 weeks dry, Circonium burned and fuel must have molten down. They reported NO STEAM. Pool floor is not built to resist molten fuel. So there is only one way – down.
                    Afterwards they can have repaired the pool
                    and maybe they also filled it up with water again.
                    I've read Hatric Penrys document collection which was very helpful to get a clue of that matter. That guys who wrote those emails were directly dealing with the accident like a task force and they informed their headquarters with these emails. So these mails are the only reliable source before japan made its censorship law. It might be impossible to get valid information or documents now.

                    If HP's documents come up to be faked, it is a other story – i can't prove any information…


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            • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

              Since when does anyone think that the NRC has the most definitive information? Their documents may show the information that they had at the time. Where are their most current documents about SFP #4 fuel removal proposed by TEPCO? Without these most current documents there is no reason to suppose that the SFP #4 is empty.


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              • moonshellblue moonshellblue

                I agree Anne as at the time of the FOIA documents info was rather confusing. Japan was juggling three major catastrophes and to assume from them that the SFP are gone is ludicrous. So many factors indicate otherwise for one Geiger readings would have skyrocketed and the fire would still be burning plus would TEPCO really spend money to build a new crane etc to fool the public. I know many think this is some great conspiracy but the facts indicate that SFP 3 &4 still remain albeit severely damaged but not totally gone. Also as has been stated by reporters they are only allowed to film the area at reactor 4 that is asthetically normal, so to speak. This theory just does not make any sense to me whatsoever. Patrick Henry has done an awesome job of sorting through the info but I see nothing there but confusion in the midst of a nuclear catastrophe. Also you never see reporters at reactor 3 as robots can barely function at that radioactive pile but to each their own.


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          • HoTaters HoTaters

            % of plutonium in "conventional" spent fuel:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spent_fuel

            Fission products

            "3% of the mass consists of fission products of 235U and 239Pu (also indirect products in the decay chain); these are considered radioactive waste or may be separated further for various industrial and medical uses. The fission products include every element from zinc through to the lanthanides; much of the fission yield is concentrated in two peaks, one in the second transition row (Zr, Mo, Tc, Ru, Rh, Pd, Ag) and the other later in the periodic table (I, Xe, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Nd)."

            http://nuclear-news.net/2011/04/11/facts-on-plutonium-and-mox-nuclear-fuel/

            A: Some reactors do use Mox, but only as a small percentage (less than 30 per cent) of the total fuel. The rest of the fuel is conventional uranium oxide. Supporters of Mox suggest that the new generation of nuclear reactors to be built in Britain could burn Mox fuel and thereby be used to diminish the plutonium stockpile. However, the new reactors have been licensed to burn uranium-only fuel and none of the reactor designs being considered has been “just”justified” for Mox, which in any case remains far more expensive than conventional uranium fuel…
            Government’s doomed £6bn plan to dispose of nuclear waste – Science, News – The Independent


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            • HoTaters HoTaters

              And this:

              http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Fuel-Recycling/Mixed-Oxide-Fuel-MOX/

              Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel

              (Updated May 2013)

              " Mixed oxide (MOX) fuel provides about 2% of the new nuclear fuel used today.
              MOX fuel is manufactured from plutonium recovered from used reactor fuel.
              MOX fuel also provides a means of burning weapons-grade plutonium (from military sources) to produce electricity. "

              So much for this sanctimonious comment:

              " PattieB
              February 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm
              #3′s pool contents went up at the start… for the most part. It had P-239 97% pure semi-depleated rods made from USSR bomb-disposal project… sitting in it and also inside the core, and is what caused the criticality ‘EVENT’ that reached 5 miles high at super-sonic-speeds."

              Sorry but we must again dispute the erroneous figures on the % of plutonium present at Reactor #3.


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              • razzz razzz

                All spent fuel contains 1% plutonium because that is how much is created (man-made) when uranium undergoes fission besides all the other deadly byproducts created (sometimes called (synthetic isotopes).

                "…In practical terms, there are two different kinds of plutonium to be considered: reactor-grade and weapons-grade. The first is recovered as a by-product of typical used fuel from a nuclear reactor, after the fuel has been irradiated ('burned') for about three years. The second is made specially for the military purpose, and is recovered from uranium fuel that has been irradiated for only 2-3 months in a plutonium production reactor. The two kinds differ in their isotopic composition but must both be regarded as a potential proliferation risk, and managed accordingly…" http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Fuel-Recycling/Plutonium/

                PattieB is never really clear on anything she states so it always makes her half right. Must be to busy to explain herself.

                The fuel rods are not 97% pure plutonium, only the bomb grade Pu is 97% pure but is mixed down so the fuel rod contains only about 6%-7% Pu. They do that so the fission can be controlled or else it could act like a bomb. At best it could fizzle aka some stage of criticality.

                Once you recover Pu in a reprocessing plant, it's worthless to be recovered again because it's atomic makeup from fission is no long conducive to a proper chain reaction. Then must be storage virtually forever.


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                • HoTaters HoTaters

                  razzz, did some research on this after reading the comments. Had the quote from Pattie B. been put into the context of what plutonium content looks like if there is a breeder reactor in operation, or weapons grade fuel been produced, it would have made sense.

                  Figures I found for weapons grade plutonium were 15% to 20% or as high as 90% to 99%, if the fuel is highly enriched (Uranium 238 bombarded with neutrons, the end of the decay chain being Pu239).

                  Just wasn't able to follow the reasoning, due to the manner in which the quotes were posted.

                  Not necessarily in agreement there is or was a secret breeder reactor program there. Many are saying there is. IMO the jury's still out on that one.


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        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Time Is Short
          December 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm
          "According to experts and scientists it takes about 10 pounds of plutonium in the atmosphere to wipe out the entire planet."
          A recently disclosed Tepco documentation indicates total emissions estimates of both plutonium 239 and neptunium 239 for the first 100 hours of the catastrophe. This leaked Tepco document [19] suggests a release of 1.2 trillion bq of pu-238,pu-239,p-240 and pu-241 collectively and 76 trillion bq of Np-239 within the first 100 hours of the catastrophe. Our goal with this study included developing atmospheric dispersion plots of these emissions and modeling radionuclide concentrations at receptors worldwide.
          With really nice, full color charts:
          http://www.datapoke.org/blog/89/study-modeling-fukushima-npp-p-239-and-np-239-atmospheric-dispersion/
          "…direct download from US EPA Radnet computers. It shows in the weeks after the accident, plutonium detecting in the US at levels 2900% to 3500% over background."
          http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2012/03/plutonium-admission-by-epa.html
          "The most terrifying fact is that the Japanese power plants are using ‘dirty’ fuel, which most countries have rejected and banned. Needless to say that the Americans built them. Since the Earth is moving Counterclockwise most of the fall-out will drop on U.S., unless very strong winds take it somewhere else. [...]"
          http://enenews.com/gundersen-a-ton-of-plutonium-was-in-each-fukushima-reactor-host-stunned-video


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        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Time Is Short
          December 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm
          "Arnold Gundersen, Nuclear Engineer: Unit 3 had 30 bundles of MOX fuel… All the reactors have plutonium in them… Uranium-238 becomes plutonium-239 when it absorbs a neutron… There was close to a ton of plutonium in each of the reactors… scattered throughout the fuel… A ton of plutonium in each reactor… you and I know how dangerous plutonium can be."
          Now mostly aerosolized into the biosphere:
          http://enenews.com/gundersen-a-ton-of-plutonium-was-in-each-fukushima-reactor-host-stunned-video


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          • HoTaters HoTaters

            Whaaaaaat? Yes, Uranium which absorbs a neutron EVENTUALLY becomes Plutonium 239, but several other stages in the decay chain must first occur.

            http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele092.html

            "Only 0.7204% of naturally occurring uranium is uranium-235. This is too low a concentration to sustain a nuclear chain reaction without the help of a material known as a moderator …. Once the levels of uranium-235 have been increased to about 3%, normal water can be used as a moderator.

            Uranium-238, uranium's most common isotope, can be converted into plutonium-239, a fissionable material that can also be used as a fuel in nuclear reactors. To produce plutonium-239, atoms of uranium-238 are exposed to neutrons. Uranium-239 forms when uranium-238 absorbs a neutron. Uranium-239 has a half-life of about 23 minutes and decays into neptunium-239 through beta decay. Neptunium-239 has a half-life of about 2.4 days and decays into plutonium-239, also through beta decay.

            Although it does not occur naturally, uranium-233 is also a fissionable material that can be used as a fuel in nuclear reactors. To produce uranium-233, atoms of thorium-232 are exposed to neutrons. Thorium-233 forms when thorium-232 absorbs a neutron. Thorium-233 has a half-life of about 22 minutes and decays into protactinium-233 through beta decay…."


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        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          “…Betwecn 1945 and 1976, about 26,000 curies (5 pounds of human-made 238Pu) were released into the atmosphere: 9820 curies from the atmospheric testing of plutonium bombs, and 17,000 curies from the satellite that burned up as it reentered the atmosphere in 1964. Of the total, based on samplings throughout the world, only 0.00055 pounds has been inhaled or ingested by all human beings….
          “Of more importance in how plutonium moves through the environment is that, once it falls on land, it can be resuspended into the air whenever the ground is disturbed by wind or human activities such as tilling or construction. This means it is available to be inhaled by humans, which is the most harmful path. Most of the studies on resuspension were conducted in arid environments, leading to question wbether resuspension of small particles would be less in more humid or wet areas. There is no solid evidence to support this idea, since measurements taken
          throughout the United States actually showed that the lowest concentration of particles per cubic meter of air were in White Pine County, Nevada — a very arid area — and that the highest were in the more humid Midwest, where soil erosion and tilling produce major resuspension. Other experiments in South Carolina, Enewetak, and Bikini also show that resuspension of soil was essentially the same as in arid environments….”
          http://www.fas.org/nuke/space/pu-ulysses.pdf


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          • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

            anne… Excellent! As always! :)


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          • Kassandra

            Amazing find Anne!

            Thank you!!!!


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          • American Phoenix57

            Another heavy piece of bone breaking information Anne. Where do you get the strength to drag these out for us over and over. Truly awesome research skills.


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            • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

              Some articles I have saved on my computer. So some articles were researched before. This article

              http://www.fas.org/nuke/space/pu-ulysses.pdf

              I researched when I took a free online energy class and a pro-nuker was arguing that there were already tons of plutonium floating around from nuclear testing. However, if that were true, no one would be so upset about Fukushima. So I did the research then to answer that person.

              The pro-nukers really use the same arguments over and over again. They don't really have any new arguments. Sadly, there are a few pro-nukers (one is Tony Wildish of CERN) who take all the free energy classes offered worldwide online and they pull out all the same erroneous arguments for the young, naive, and unwary, and I haven't had the time to keep following him around to all those classes. But there are others who are anti-nuke who are taking at least some of these classes.

              So some of what I post is new research, and some is old research. And I keep at it because I didn't give birth to my children to watch them all die of cancer.


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              • HoTaters HoTaters

                OK, but why do you agree with PattieB's statement about there being very high percentages of Plutonium in Unit #3's fuel or spent fuel?

                Please post a link to some sort of research showing it's possible to have Plutonium present in fuel (or likely spent fuel).

                It just doesn't sound plausible.

                So I guess I'm the lone ranger here in disputing her figures. Thought Jebus or someone else here ("old timer") disputed those figures a couple of days ago. Someone with a lot more knowledge of nuclear fuel and spent fuel than most of us possess.


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                • HoTaters HoTaters

                  I mean please post a link to some study showing it's possible to have very high %'s of Plutonium present in spent fuel. It's 6% for conventional spent fuel, correct? And MOX?


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                  • Jebus Jebus

                    The plutonium, as an oxide, is then mixed with depleted uranium left over from an enrichment plant to form fresh mixed oxide fuel (MOX, which is UO2+PuO2). MOX fuel, consisting of about 7-10% plutonium mixed with depleted uranium, is equivalent to uranium oxide fuel enriched to about 4.5% U-235, assuming that the plutonium has about two thirds fissile isotopes. If weapons plutonium is used (>90% Pu-239), only about 5% plutonium is needed in the mix. The plutonium content of commercial MOX fuel varies up to 10.8% depending on the design of the fuel, and averages about 9.5%. Fuel in an EPR with 30% MOX having less than 10.8% Pu is equivalent to 4.2% enriched uranium fuel. An EPR with 100% MOX fuel can use a wider variety of used fuel material (burnup, initial enrichment, Pu quality) than with only 30% MOX.

                    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Fuel-Recycling/Mixed-Oxide-Fuel-MOX/

                    When they tell you there is only three percent MOX in the reactor, they are averaging against the load.

                    Any individual MOX fuel rod can have as much plutonium as they want in it.

                    It depends on what madness they have in their minds…


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                  • razzz razzz

                    Uranium in present in fresh unused fuel at about 3% that is, the pellet mix consist of 3% enriched uranium because in nature uranium occurs at less than 1% in deposits and has to be condensed to 3%. MOX fuel contains Pu at 6%-7% mix (really varies depending on the purity of the PU) mixed along with some type of Uranium.

                    Even MOX rods/bundles/assemblies containing 6%-7% Pu, are loaded only as 30 percent of the entire fuel makeup sometimes 50 percent. MOX fuel is not used as an entire core load. Usually Uranium fuel 70% and MOX fuel 30%.

                    "…The use of up to 50% of MOX does not change the operating characteristics of a reactor, though the plant must be designed or adapted slightly to take it. More control rods are needed. For more than 50% MOX loading, significant changes are necessary and a reactor needs to be designed accordingly.."
                    "…The plutonium, as an oxide, is then mixed with depleted uranium left over from an enrichment plant to form fresh mixed oxide fuel (MOX, which is UO2+PuO2). MOX fuel, consisting of about 7-10% plutonium mixed with depleted uranium, is equivalent to uranium oxide fuel enriched to about 4.5% U-235, assuming that the plutonium has about two thirds fissile isotopes. If weapons plutonium is used (>90% Pu-239), only about 5% plutonium is needed in the mix…"
                    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Fuel-Recycling/Mixed-Oxide-Fuel-MOX/


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          • HoTaters HoTaters

            These are good points to ponder.


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      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Yes, and that's some scarey video. Looks just as bad as #3 going, Ka-boom!


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    • We Not They Finally

      "They all know"??? You're so sure of that?


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  • bsgcic bsgcic

    Of course this whole situation is beyond horrendous.
    However, the most troubling part of this news article are the statements by Tepco officials and advisors. Their public statements downplay the complexity of the task. I am seriously hoping that they too are equally worried about this and are just trying to downplay the situation to the public. If they really do believe that it will not be a dangerous task, then that would display an even greater degree of incompetance, state of unpreparedness, and really a setup for failure leading to the worst case possible: an unrecoverable criticality in the spent fuel pool. The Tepco responses are so unbelievably troubling. I would much rather that they discussed areas of concern, measures that they will take to mitigate them, and open questions and challenges that they could use outside council on.
    Arnie Gundersen, who is an EXPERT on handling of nuclear fuel rods in spent fuel pools, clearly stated that he believes that Tepco underestimates the complexity of the task and that he thinks a criticality will occur and that we will be hearing of the Fukushima plant needing to be evacuated. This is Arnie Gundersen saying this! He has been data-based, not over-dramatic, scientific, the whole way through this disaster and EVERY prediction he has made to date has happened.
    The responses by Tepco of this Enenews article clearly show that Arnie's believe that Tepco underestimates the complexity is indeed true. The criticality is going to…


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  • bsgcic bsgcic

    My last sentence of my above post: "The criticality is going to happen."
    It is so sad – especially to the innocent citizens and residents of Japan, particularly the children. And to both Koreas, China, etc.


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  • bsgcic bsgcic

    My feeling inside after reading this article with the Tepco officials and Tepco advisors' responses made me say negative profanity towards them inside my head. I really felt like I wanted to write that profanity in my post above but of course I maintain a civil tongue in respect to this extremely outstanding Enenews site and to you the Enenews's outstanding readers, posters, and community. (Well, I maintain a civil tongue in general anyway, but that is my feeling inside!)


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  • weeman

    In my opinion the main objective is to retrieve the unused fuel assemblies that were to be installed in reactor and I don't think they were in SFP, either in reactor or in DSP?
    Or the other way around, the SFP was not effected and it was the unused fuel assembly that is the source of explosion and was in reactor or DSP, not likely.
    With unit four remember that the explosion started in basement or lower in building that all the other units, this is different accident from the other units.
    Is hydrogen the only gas that is produced or can a explosive gas heavier than air be produced?


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    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      There were at least two or three explosions.


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    • robu

      Keep in mind that Units 3 and 4 are connected together through the turbine building. This is quite low in the structure. I suspect that when 3 went up, it did several things: blew the containment cap off and sent fuel debris into the air and blew out the steam connections into the turbine building and sent some material that way. If the turbine building is a path for the hydrogen to go, it is conceivable it went into unit 4 like a chimney (pulled upward from down below) and was sucked into it. When the concentration of hydrogen hit the right ratio with the air inside the building it went up.


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  • guinness69

    What about the poor bastards that have to go up there to pull the rods out. I hope their family's are well looked after


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  • rnix rnix

    "This script, it seems to me, is the work of professionals who yearned to be as charming as inspired amateurs can sometimes be."

    —-Kurt Vonnegut Between Time and Timbuktu


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  • We Not They Finally

    They meant a few MILLION toasters, right?


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  • We Not They Finally

    So far as WHATEVER already happened at SPF4, why doesn't anyone think that there is just ONE criticality ANYWHERE in that plant? Like I saw a bright flash a year back, and that might mean no more criticalities past then? There are thousands of rods! And numerous pools and SFP's and damaged buildings.

    And what about RE-criticalities? Like the day that one part of the site was suddenly 6,500% higher radiation than two days before. Is that just like, o.k., show me which rod did it or it didn't happen?

    This has been rife with UNDER-estimations all along. I don't have the whole picture at all, don't claim to — I'm not a scientist. It just looks scarier and scarier every time it is revisited.


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  • Shaker1

    Robu, respectfully, I don't understand your logic. When Unit 3 blew, it would have created a suction effect, the rapidly rising air pulling from any point that it could below the level of what happened, not the opposite. I could see maybe overpressure of heat from 3 forcing atmosphere to 4, and a momentary rush of before the top blew. Once the top of the building was gone, there was no closed system to act as a chimney to 4. The point has been made, and early pictures confirm, that 4 was damaged at least a level lower than 3, if counting the panels in the building is a good manner of determining that. For a chimney effect, 4 had to be open before 3 went had to be open to facilitate the movement. It seems some assumption on your part that 4 was allowing atmosphere to escape before the explosion at 3. That may be the case, but I haven't seen reference to that particularly. Personally, I don't believe the migration theory. Hyrdrogen rises, and the turbine buildings are at the lowest level. I believe if one looks at the early pictures one also see that the piping shared to the vent stack, again at a very low level, was severed at 3.


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    • robu

      My thought is that when the pressure vessel in 3 went over its limit it blew up but also out through the feed and steam lines. You could have material that makes its way out of the general containment and into the turbine building or at least the access to the turbine building. For an entire day after 3 goes up the gas being generated from this debris starts moving upward. Since three is now basically vented, gas going that way isn't going to be ignited again in 3.

      When 3 went up, the top of 4 took some damage. The hot water/debris in the turbine building and lower levels of 3 starts moving upward and some goes into 4 because of its chimney effect. It takes a full day for unit 4 to get enough H2 concentration to go off.

      I don't buy the vent stack as the path to 4 since it really doesn't make physical sense.


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  • Grampybone Grampybone

    "if a fuel assemble casing broke, you would be dealing with noble gasses as well as a small amount of radioactive ones" TEPCO's rhetoric has proven to be lies in the past. Especially about Nobel gasses and how they are not radioactive. Xenon can react with Iodine. This was discovered at the University of Nottingham. Vast amount of Xenon are constantly being released and fallout when the weak bonds break between the Cesium/Iodine/Xenon cluster. TEPCO is a terrible joke of science.


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  • ruppert

    They have lied about everything since day one and only admit to any wrong-doing when the evidence is blatantly obvious even to the most clueless.

    The number 4 reactor is a dog and pony show so people won't look at where the real problems are occurring. Look at the shiny green paint. Does anything we have been shown look like the inside of a place where a major explosion took place?

    I find it personally offensive that they think the world is that stupid (sadly maybe we are).

    It doesn't really matter what happens at reactor 4 as reactors 1,2, and 3 are continually releasing radiation and at some point will make it impossible to continue working there.

    This is nothing but a dog and pony show being performed to make everybody think something is being done. I guarantee they will not show whatever they do and if anything catastrophic happens, we will not "see or hear" about it till people begin dropping like flies.

    If we have not learned how this situation is being misreported in 2 and and a half years we deserve whatever transpires.

    I stopped believing anything after we (the U.S) were promised that we would not be affected by the fallout. They can say whatever they want but nobody is going to escape the effects of this.


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    But remember if you like your insurance you can keep it! :)

    WE need to pass this bill so you asking questions and those voting here today have a chance to actually read it! :( Bobby then asks how many pages are in this bill? Only 2700 pages! :(

    Shall I gone on?


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    oops…Shall I "go" on?


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  • Sam

    Tepco admits fuel rods are all bent out of shape. That is why they are doing the shifting op manually.

    We have a spaghetti in there boiling in radioactive water.


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